Cargo caper: Hidden migrant workers in household goods truck foiled in Bangkok

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.

The illegal transportation of migrant workers into Bangkok was recently foiled by highway police. A truck, which was seemingly moving household items, was intercepted, revealing nine Myanmar migrant workers hidden within the cargo. Investigations are underway to establish the full extent of this smuggling operation.

Today, highway police in Ayutthaya, led by officer Paphinwit Udomphorn, continued their operation against the illegal smuggling of migrant workers into Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. Using both main and secondary road routes, the officers scrutinized vehicles suspected of carrying undocumented workers.

During their patrol on highway number 32, through Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province, the team flagged down an overweight Isuzu pick-up truck, registration number ขง-4434 Phitsanulok. Despite attempts to evade the police, the vehicle was eventually stopped near kilometre marker 27 in Bor Pong, Nakhon Luang.

Upon inspection, the driver, 42 year old Pongpet Saeyang, was discovered along with nine Myanmar migrant workers, both male and female, concealed within the load. None of the group possessed any travel documents or alternative paperwork.

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The back of the truck was filled with household items, giving the impression of a house move rather than a covert operation, reported KhaoSod.

During interrogations at the highway police station in Ayutthaya, Pongsak confessed that an unidentified Thai male had hired him to transport the workers from a forested area in Wang Chao, Tak province, to Bangkok. He was to receive a fee of 1,000 baht (US$27) per person. Pongpet, a farmer by trade, had been lured into the smuggling operation due to financial pressures and the promise of substantial earnings.

Border crossing

The apprehended workers admitted entering Thailand illegally via natural pathways, crossing the border in Mae Sot, Tak. They were not required to pay upfront for their journey and were to find work in Thailand to pay off their debt of approximately 12,000 baht (US$328) per person to their smugglers.

The police revealed that numerous vehicles are involved in smuggling operations, with many successfully evading capture due to the lucrative nature of the business. The smugglers often inhabit the same communities, encouraging others to participate.

After the capture, the police provided food and water to the apprehended workers who had not eaten since beginning their journey.

They feared that stopping for meals would increase their chances of getting caught. After their meal, the smugglers and the victims were handed over to the local police station in Nakhon Luang, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya to proceed with legal action.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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